Hub World – Loneliness (January)
Welcome to Hub World! Each month I will be discussing a topic we have been reflecting on throughout the month and how we, as a community, tackle it in our daily lives.
Loneliness and isolation is a complex feeling that comes in many forms, rather than it’s strongest association of being physically alone. You can feel lonely surrounded by hundreds of people, or even within a group of close friends and loved ones. This might be because you feel like you are unable to connect with those around you on an emotional level, which in turn leads to putting on a social mask in order to interact with others in the day to day – so as not to feel like a burden to those around you.
Last month at Safe In Our World, we thought about loneliness, the impact it has had on us and those around us and how we have tackled this feeling – particularly during the pandemic.
During this time, one of the most important things for me was to find a way to reconnect with my mum, who lives alone and has had a tough few months. When I was young, we used to play video games together – or she would watch and experience a game’s narrative with me. That’s something that we have been missing since we began living apart, so I hatched a plan to bring her back into that world via the Nintendo Switch and online play in Animal Crossing.
I spent several hours over Christmas setting up an ‘event space’ on my Animal Crossing Island, filled with presents and decorations. Once my mum had received the Switch, we spent time talking over the phone as she learned the basics of the game and after a couple of days I brought her to my island, where she was surprised with a variety of goodies! It’s one of the best decisions I have made during lockdown and it has been a joy to see her re-engage with games again and for us to be able to play together like we used to.
Our ability to go wherever whenever has been taken away from all of us, which I’ve found brings about a feeling of loneliness, even if you don’t live alone. Forming new friendships with others through current friendships has been incredible. We basically now have our own online support bubble where we talk about anything and everything (but try to avoid COVID chat!) Calls almost every evening has helped hugely, whether this be on Discord or using PlayStation parties, as well as engaging in online multiplayer gaming sessions together. Regular communication has been key, whether it be with friends, family and/or colleagues.
As the world deals with loneliness caused by the isolation of the pandemic, the advice that I have given out over and over on the channel is to check out streaming platforms and try to connect with others who share your interests: whether that’s gaming, knitting, painting miniatures, or anything else really.
The best thing is seeing people find lasting friendships, as they are connecting with others through various platforms. My stream is centred around mental health discussions, so friendships are forged through helping to support others with similar mental health concerns.
Richard Lee Breslin
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do and how many people you have around you. We can (and have) all experience loneliness in our lives.
Despite being a happily married man with a wonderful son, I can still feel lonely. I have a tendency to lock my troubles away in the back of my mind and my reluctance to talk can isolate me despite being surrounded by loving people. During times of the global pandemic we can be cut-off from seeing loved ones and friends. Thankfully we have modern day technology and social media at our call.
Social media has played a huge role in our lives pre-pandemic but now it’s more important than ever. If there are some positives taken from this pandemic, it’s made me cherish those smaller moments and I’ve even gained some great friends.
I know it may feel difficult at times not being with friends and loved ones, but if you can, don’t cut yourself off from your world. Let your loved ones and friends know that you’re thinking of them, because they’ll be feeling the same about you too.
Loneliness can easily creep up on you, I have personally found that it can be the first step leading to a downward spiral – usually leading to less focus on caring for your own mental health and wellbeing needs.
Something which has helped me considerably is Digital Fitness through social media and applications such as Peloton and Nike. No matter your equipment or goals there are communities to help you stay focused, spread positivity and offer advice. Particularly on Facebook and Strava I have connected with new people through the shared vision of reaching our goals.
You’ll find people are eager to listen and support you through the pursuit of staying active!
The Demented Raven
Whenever some of my friends have had a rough day or feel alone, we decide to play video games to brighten up our day. One of these games is Overwatch and it always ends up with wholesome laughs, silliness, banter and pure joys of friendship. Video games have the power to really help people reach out and are a reminder that you’re never alone.
Emma Withington is a freelance writer and PR account executive at Bastion who has worked on campaigns for a variety of titles, including Control and Final Fantasy XIV: Online.
She is currently spending time focusing on the wider community and how she can help others through her personal journey with mental health.